Red Letters

Mark 6:47-52; Matthew; 14:24-33; John 6:16-21, A Walk on the Water

John 3:16

A walk on water seems completely impossible.  One could walk on frozen water and claim to have walked on water.  Or The One could walk on water; He could do the impossible. Think about the realities involved in this story.  Water may hold up a leaf; things float on water, but there is no way for unfrozen water to hold up the weight of a human being.  Yet that is exactly what Jesus did.  Not only that, he bid his friend, Peter, to join him and the water held both of them.

Three Gospel writers: Mark, Matthew, and John, share the story. Between the three of them, we see the whole picture.  After a previous “impossible” thing- the feeding of the 5000, the crowd recognized Jesus’ immense power and to their minds, it was only reasonable to make him king by force. This is laughable considering they could never force someone who does the impossible to do anything he did not want to do. Jesus put this movement down as he sent the apostles across the sea to Bethsaida, told the crowd to go away, and went by himself to pray.

Wait! He did what? “He went by himself to pray” …the One who could do the impossible…prayed. Have you ever wished you could fix something? Have you ever wished you could do the impossible? Somehow, we often imagine that if we are in Christ and He is in us we should not have to struggle over things We wish that we could come up with the answers to the hard questions. We hope that we can understand what is going on, see the big picture and trust God effortlessly…or at least to our satisfaction.

Jesus could do all those things. He has always been. He was with God in the creation. He reigns and he will come back as the victor. Yet while he walked on earth in human form, he made it his habit to pray. Not just whenever he thought about it but continually. And we see him praying any time he confronts a big decision or a big problem. So, he prayed when his followers attempted to take him completely off course. It was not yet his time to be a King.

However, it was during this prayer time that Jesus could see his disciples’ boat out in the water, blown off course by a storm. He went to them, walking near their boat.  Of course, they were already distracted with fear from the storm, so his appearance even frightened them more. He comforted them with “Take courage! It is I.  Don’t be afraid” (Mt. 14:27).

Jesus prayed for direction, comfort, and for help. While he was on earth, he revealed the role of comforter and protector to his followers. Those who knew him received his attention; he did not ignore them. Even when their lack of trust frustrated him, he stood beside them and let them know his presence. And we can trust that Jesus has not changed. As we follow his model of a praying, trusting relationship with his Father, we will also know his presence. “Take courage. It is I. Don’t be afraid” will comfort us as well.